Tuesday, 21 November 2017

The Advent Wreath and praying
with the World Church in Advent

Lighting the Advent Wreath ... the first purple candle recalls the Patriarchs and Matriarchs (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

During the two discussions on ‘Preparing for Advent’ yesterday [20 November 2017], there were requests for prayer resources suitable for using at the lighting of the candles on the Advent Wreath on each Sunday in Advent.

A new resource on this theme is produced each year by the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel). USPG, which was founded in 1701, is supporting churches around the world in their mission to bring fullness of life to the communities they serve. Theologically, practically and financially, USPG encourages and enables churches in the Anglican Communion to act as the hands and feet of Christ.

As we light our Advent candles in anticipation of celebrating the coming of the Christ child, USPG is inviting churches and parishes to pray for mothers and children who are served by the mission world church in Tanzania, Ghana, Bangladesh and Palestine.

For example, despite political unrest and horrific terrorist activities in Bangladesh, the USPG-supported Bollobphur Hospital is an oasis of peace. Families of different faith backgrounds – Muslim, Hindi and Christian – live and work together in peace and harmony.

Tiny babies of different faith backgrounds often share together the warmth and comfort of the same incubator – they do better if they have a companion and keep each other warm when a sudden power cut shuts off the electricity supply.

These prayers at the Advent Wreath on the Sundays in Advent could also help continue our themes next Sunday in Mission Sunday, which supports projects in co-operation with USPG.

First Sunday of Advent (Purple Candle):

The Patriarchs and Matriarchs

O God of Abraham and Sarai,
whose promise was fulfilled in the birth of Isaac;
we pray for mothers in Tanzania whose hope for their unborn
children is tainted by the threat of preventable disease.
Bless those who work to overcome this threat
so that children can be born healthy and full of potential.

Second Sunday of Advent (Purple Candle):

The Prophets

O God of history,
who has spoken through the prophets;
we pray for mothers in Ghana
who have learned to protect their children from cholera.
Bless those who bring life-saving knowledge
and bless families whose children are now healthy and full of life.

Third Sunday of Advent (Pink Candle):

Saint John the Baptist

O God of justice,
whose servant John prepared the way for Jesus’ coming;
we pray for the medical mission of the Church of Bangladesh
as it prepares the way for prematurely born children.
Bless the babies from different faiths who share the warmth
of a common incubator.
May their world become a fair and just home for all.

Fourth Sunday of Advent (Purple Candle):

The Virgin Mary

O God of promise,
whose mother Mary carried your Christ in an occupied land;
we pray for mothers in the Holy Land
who today live with restrictions and violence.
Bless the church-run hospitals that serve them and their children
regardless of race, religion or financial status.

Christmas Day (White Candle):

Jesus Christ

Holy God, your only son was born with
no home and laid in a manger;
fill us with compassion for all in need today.
Bless your church as it works for dignity,
healing and peace across the world.
And give us generous hearts
to respond to your most generous gift,
of Jesus Christ our Lord.

A gift to USPG in Advent could help to bring health, hope and prosperity to a child whose future would otherwise be very different.

For further copies of this prayer card and to download Advent resources visit:


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